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Trump not planning to invoke executive privilege to block James Comey testimony: Report

By: Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner
June 3, 2017 Updated: June 3, 2017 at 10:17 am
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Former FBI Director James Comey was fired in May amid his agency's investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Photo by Susan Walsh, AP.

President Trump is leaning toward not blocking former FBI Director James Comey from testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee next Thursday.

Two unnamed senior administration officials told The New York Times that Trump has decided not to invoke his executive privilege.

Earlier in the day, two Trump administration officials, adviser Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sean Spicer, would not rule out Friday the possibility of blocking Comey from speaking to the Senate intelligence panel as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. A White House official later confirmed to Bloomberg that the Trump administration was reviewing the matter.

Comey was fired last month amid his agency's probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Comey is expected to tell lawmakers on Thursday about his private conversations with Trump. According to a Comey memo reported by the New York Times last month, Trump had asked Comey to lay off his agency's investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn. Flynn was fired after it was revealed that he mislead the Trump administration about his communications with a Russian envoy.

Legal experts and Democrats say Trump would have a weak case if he were to attempt to go the executive privilege route. Despite the report from the Times, Trump could change his mind in the days leading up to Comey's expected testimony.

Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn on Friday in which they warn that "[a]ny assertion of privilege by the President would be seen as an effort to obstruct the truth from both Congress and the American people."

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